Driving donations for GOSH Charity's flagship Christmas appeal

How an innovative digital marketing strategy can significantly enhance donations for a flagship Christmas appeal, despite challenging conditions.

Great Ormond Street Hospital

3 mins read

Lady holds little boy in front of Christmas tree at Great Ormond Street Hospital

The outcomes

The background

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) launched its ‘One step closer’ Christmas Appeal for the second year in a row in 2022. The campaign is inspired by four-year-old Henry, who had life-saving surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) . The ads that run alongside this multifaceted campaign help to raise crucial funds for resources and support, to help get seriously ill children like Henry get one step closer to home.

The brief

Driving donations with maximum revenue

The primary objective for the campaign was to drive as many donations as possible with maximum revenue. Due to the time constraints of the festive season, our team had a relatively short window of opportunity to generate donations. And, with the cost-of-living crisis and financial pressures on people across the UK, many charities were expecting results to be lower than in previous years.

Despite an existing range of endearing creatives that are familiar to the audience, the world had changed significantly since the last time this campaign ran. But, with a clear focus and strategy, we were determined to make it a success, alongside GOSH Charity’s expert in-house digital engagement team.

Our approach

Identifying key awareness opportunities across Display, Spotify and Performance Max

Our digital strategy needed to fit in with the broader marketing strategy that GOSH Charity had designed for this campaign, which had been created to ensure a clear marketing funnel – investing in the upper and middle funnel to increase brand uplift, recall and engagement. By focusing efforts on building out a large retargeting audience, we were able to ensure that we drove high-quality volume to the donate pages later in the campaign.

With a remit of delivering top of funnel and conversions for this campaign, and a powerful story to be told around the campaign’s star, Henry, we began reviewing exactly how and where we could share Henry’s story for maximum impact. And how we could best use our budget across the user journey to tell a story and transform awareness into action.

Using the charming selection of video, imagery and text-based creatives, we identified our key awareness opportunities across Display, Spotify and Performance Max (see more about this fantastic new tool from Google here). This worked in conjunction with activity the GOSH Charity team ran in-house, and generated a reach of 5,389,993 and over 200,000 video views across paid social, PPC and display. This new approach, with more focus on the top of funnel than ever before at Christmas, halved the CPM from the previous monthly average.

On Search, which was designed to capture new audiences but primarily drive donations, we noticed that spend in previous years was spread out across a range of non-branded terms. Our new non-branded Search strategy focused on two core keyword areas, Christmas Gifts and Christmas Appeal, allowing us to be more competitive in these key areas and win a majority of the Search Impression Share available.

This also allowed us to allocate more budget towards branded keywords, which we knew from previous years would bolster the revenue generated from non-branded terms. We increased the budget on branded terms later in the campaign, based on interest and search volume, suggesting that the upper funnel awareness activity drove interest and consideration, which we were ready to capture.

The joy of utilising these different platforms was being able to review the results at various stages of the campaign and make decisions of where to move budget for maximum impact. We have such a great relationship with GOSH Charity and their trust in our work meant we had the freedom to optimise the different platforms with a quick turnaround. We absolutely love working with their team.

Louise Horner Digital Marketing Consultant, Torchbox

The outcome

Exceeding objectives

Over the six-week period, the campaign greatly exceeded objectives, achieving the following results:

  • Over £221,000 in revenue raised across Search, Performance Max, Display, Spotify and Adroll
  • A cost per donation of £9.55 compared to £33.70 for 2021
  • ROI of £3.32 compared to £1.66 in 2021

This year's Christmas Stocking Appeal (one of GOSH Charity's flagship appeals) raised over £1.1 million. It was the highest cash appeal amount raised in five years, with digital income contributing 50% of the total for the first time ever. Your team were a really big part of that, so thank you.

Robert Butt Senior Individual Giving Manager, GOSH

Looking for support with your charity's Christmas campaign?

Phil McMinn Director of Digital Marketing

Get in touch


Louise Horner

Client Experience Manager